Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta is classified as follows: Brahman-caitanya - absolute consciousness; Isvara-caitanya -cosmic consciousness; Jiva-caitanya - individual consciousness; and Saksi-caitanya - indwelling consciousness. However in advaita, these distinctions are due to limiting adjuncts or upadhis and are not intrinsic to the true nature of consciousness, which is by itself one and non-dual. Advaita Vedanta says that there is a substratum of this universe, even finer than energy-prana called Brahma Caitanya. Its very nature is Satchitananda – Absolute existence, Pure Consciousness and Bliss. The pure consciousness is the Self. As the rope could confuse you to believe it to be a snake, the snake cannot have an existence outside the rope. So the universe has no existence apart from Brahman. It is veiled by Maya and to lift it one seeks the testimony of the scriptures, illumined soul, do meditation, self-enquiry etc. When one transcends maya, then he successfully steers towards the highest union with Brahman. Shaivism would depart from this view.
SADASIVA – NIRGUNA BRAHMAN: At the highest level Lord Siva is Sadasiva, Para Brahman, Paramasiva or Paramesvara. In his Mirguna aspect, he is the transcendental formless reality. He is Brahman Himself without qualities and attributes. Para Brahman means the Highest Brahman or beyond Brahman. The Vedic reference is ‘tat’ or ‘that’ as opposed to the manifest universe which is ‘idam’ or ‘this’.
He is the Supreme Lord, the Eternal Truth, The Absolute, Infinite, Timeless, Indivisible, Subjective Truth beyond the senses and the mind. He is the end of spiritual practice, the experience of Pure Consciousness and Bliss in the state of Samadhi or Yoga. Kena Upanishad describes him as the Supreme Spirit and. As such he not to be chickened by maya.
SIVA – SAGUNA BRAHMAN: Siva also manifests as Maheswara or Mahasiva, the Lord of the Univers. As saguna Brahman, the Cosmic Lord, he is the awakened Supreme Self or Purusha, who combines himself with Prakriti, Shakti, in the roles of creation, maintenance, destruction, concealment and liberation. He is Purusha of the Vedas, the cosmic male, who creates Prakriti, the cosmic female. He projects the material and objective universe through Shakti, his dynamic power which he projects like a reflection in a mirror to manifest the objective reality through Shakti while he conceals himself. This is all not categorized as Maya, Illusory or False.
As Ardhanareesvara, as stated in Thirumoolar’s Thirumanthiram, He creates, He preserves, He destroys, He obscures and grants mukti. These are his functions. He is the source of all knowledge, the Agamas and the Tantras. These functions are performed through dynamic aspect of Shakti 1. Ananda-shakti or 2.Chit-shakti which is Pure Consciousness, 3.Iccha-shakti or will power, 4. Jnana-shakti-pure knowledge and 5. Kriya-shakti which is his dynamic power. As such the objective world or universe with its disparate objects that we perceive is the expansion of Shakti.
SHAKTI: Shaktas consider Adi Parashakti as the power of Sadasiva, Para Brahman. It is emphasized here that there is no separation or difference between Siva and Shakti. The difference is created by our own ignorance. In our limited mind we cannot comprehend Siva as Nirguna Brahman so we keep creating dualities. Sakta Agamas glorify Shakti as the Mother Goddess of the Universe. In her saguna way, She manifests as Siva's Consort. She is Bhavani; as the Mother of the world, She is Ambika or Jaganmata; as the daughter of Daksa and Virini, She is Uma; as the daughter of Himavat, She is Parvati; as the repository of powers of gods, She is Durga in Her warrior status; She is Sakti with Siva; She is Kali with Siva; As Sati, She was the daughter of Daksa; She is the ten Mahavidyas.
She also represents the three gunas; Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. This is personified as the material energy of Brahma, Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra, responsible for creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. As the personified energy of Sadasiva, who is the Supreme Being, she is Adi Parashakti, devoid of attributes she is called Nirguna. So actually it is Adi Parashakti who does anything: create, preserve or destroy. One can say that Para Brahman is static spiritual energy and Adi Parashakti is dynamic essence. The energies of Siva and Shakti, when coming together is Ananda or pure joy. Brihadaranayaka Upanishad 2.9.28 ‘Verily know the Supreme One to be Bliss.’
Aghora is a Tantric Shaivite sect tracing its beginning to rishi Dattatreya. The rishi is believed to have gone beyond the fourth state of consciousness, the Turiya. Aghoris have the ultimate aim of reaching Brahman; they dissolve in this Bliss. This is also explained in a different but affective way in the Siva-Shakti Tantric Maithuna Yoga. Perhaps you could seek guidance from your own gurus. Much of Tantra is not for written and published consumption.
ISVARA: Yet again in Advaita Vedanta, Isvara caitanya or Brahman united with maya explains the process of this universe’s creation, preservation, and dissolution, which is without beginning and without end. But Brahman can neither transform itself into the world nor create it, since that which is absolute reality, by definition, must transcend action and change. So Brahman plus Maya is Ishvara, God with attributes. In other words, Brahman appears as Isvara when viewed through maya.
In Shaivism, Isvara represents a functional aspect of Mahasiva, the performing role of destroyer. He is responsible for the regeneration and renewal of the material and objective universe and its components. In this functional aspect he facilitates the illusory movement of Kala-time and Yuga-phases.
In this saguna form, he is Parvathi’s husband with a whole range of entourage such as Devas, Gods, Siddhas, Siva ganas, Rishis, Yogis and devotees, all blessed with his darshan. He is there for our spiritual enlightenment. Through his anugraha or grace, one’s karma may be reduced or destroyed, impurities removed and pave the way for spiritual evolution. He facilitates our earth consciousness to Divine Consciousness and He acts as the conduit.
SADASIVA - FACES: The Four Faces of Sadasiva are said to have revealed the Vedas. The Fifth Face, Isana, revealed the Agamas. Each of the faces represent the Amnayas or doctrines thad lead one to liberation. It is said that one who knows all the Amnayas is Lord Siva himself. Each mantra has its guardian deity, who confers benevolence to the chanter. All the lesser gods and goddesses are the emanations of Siva and Sakti. Urdhavamnaya of the Isana face is the most exalted doctrine and Law of all doctrines.They are of five colours but there are varied accounts on the colours attributed to the heads of Sadasiva. In Manickavaasgar’s Thiruvaasakham Verse 48-49 it is stated ‘enggal Peruman niranggal orr aiynthu’ meaning Sadasiva, Our Lord, is of five colours:
EAST FACE: Is called Tatpurusa and is of golden colour. It is of pearly lustrous complexion with three eyes and a crescent moon on the crown. This is the face of Mahesvara. It stands for Obscuration and represents Air. This face blessed the Devis, Annapurna, Bhuvanesvari, Lakshmi, Lalita, Mahalakshmi, Nitya, Padma, Sarasvati, Shulini, Triputa, Tvaita, Vagvadini, Vajraprastarim with mantras and rites. Doctrine attributed to this face is Purvamnaya concerned with creation, the 24 tattvas and Mantra Yoga Marga.
SOUTH FACE: Is called Aghora and is of blue colour. The South Face has three eyes. This is the face of Rudra. It stands for Sublation and represents Fire. This face revealed Mantras and rites to Bhairva, Dakshinamurti, Mahaprasadamantra, Manjughosa, Mritasanjivanividya, Mrityunjaya, Prasadasadasiva, Vatuka. Doctrine attributed this face is Dakshina-amnaya concerned with maintenance, 25 tattvas and Bhakti Marga.
WEST FACE: Is called Sadyojata and is of white color. The West Face of the complexion of clouds. This is the face of Brahma. It stands for Creation and represents Earth. This face revealed the Mantras and rites to Agni, Candra, Dikpalas, Ganesha, Garuda, Gopala, Hanuman, HariHara, Krishna, Narayana, Nrishimha, Ramacandra, Suras, Surya, Vamana, Varaha, Vishnu and Yama. Doctrine attributed with this face is Paschima-amnaya concerned with Karma Marga and 32 tattvas.
NORTH FACE: Is called Vamadeva and is of red colour. This is the face Vishnu. It stands for Maintenance and represents Water. It represents the Compassion of Sadasiva. This face revealed mantras to Bhadrakali, Bagalamukhi, Chhinnamasta, Dakshinakalika, Dhumavati, Durga, Ekajata, Gauri, Guhyakah, Jayadurga, Katyayani, Mahakali, Mahishamardini, Matangi, Navadurga, Nilasarasvati, Pratyangira, Smashanakalika, Taritni, Ugratara, Vashuli, Vishalakshi their rites and Mantras. The doctrine attributed to this face is Shaivite Jnana Marga and the 36 Tattvas.
SKY FACE: Is called Isana and is of Crystaline color. This is the face of Sadasiva, the Revealer of Grace. It revealed mantras to Annapurnabhairavi, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneshibhairavi, Malini, Pancami, Shodashi, Shatkutabhairavi, Shrimattripurasundari, Smashanabhairavi, Tripurabhairavi, Tripureshi and Valavala. The doctrine attributed to this face is the Urdhva-amnaya, High Doctrine which extols of Brahman’s fullness. Unlike the Vedas, Puranas and Sastras, it is kept secret and is one for a Guru-disciple.
SYMBOLISMS: Sadasiva is the Ever Auspicious Lord. The Hooded Snake represents Wisdom and Temptation. It symbolizes that we exercise caution, use wisdom, resist temptation, move carefully and use discrimination. The Third Eye is the Eye of Wisdom. It is the path way to the inner guru, antar guru. The Five Faces are symbolic of Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Sublimation of five senses, Revealer of Grace. The Ten Arms consummate ability to tackle difficulties. The Tiger Skin obtunds the earth vibrations which keep bhaktas earthbound. The Abhaya Mudra means have no fear and a blessing to attain liberation.
While the Supreme Sadasiva has no form whatsoever, thanks to the sculptors and image makers, He exhibits these features for the benefit of bhaktas who cannot comprehend Him in His incorporeal form: Isaana as His head; Tatpurusha as His mouth; Aghora as His Heart; Vaamadeva as His secret parts and Sadyojaata as His feet. This body is self-created by Lord Siva, the cause of five functions of the Supreme – Frace, Obscuration, Destruction, Preservation and Creation.
PANCHABUTHAS: The five faces of Sadasiva represent five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Ether. The body represents five elements: From the foot to the knees, it is earth; from the knees to the navel, it is water; from the navel to the throat it is fire; from the throat to the mouth it is wind; from the mouth to the crown it is ether.
YOGA: Jivas are the deluded aspect of Sadasiva. There is no difference between the two. Jivas are subject to Anava or finiteness, Maya or delusion and Karma of egoistic actions. In Shaivite thoughts Jivas are the same in terms of essence and Pure Consciousness just as Sadasiva. When the clouds of ignorance are removed through the Lord’s anugraha, the Jiva becomes liberated and reunites with the Source. At that state there is no bheda or difference or only Ananda or Pure Joy.
The relationship between Sadasiva and Jiva is certainly not of master and servant. To one that realizes they are of equal and essential identity. One may take the Jnana path of Self realization by embarking on the 36 Siva Tattvas and Agamas. The Isvara tattvas are 1.Shiva-chit, 2. Shakti –Kriya 3.Sadasiva –Jnana and Kriya, Iswara – Jnana and Kriya and 5. Sidda-Vidya – Jnana and Kriya. The Shakti Tattvas are 6. Kaala-time, 7. Niyati – space, 8.Vidya –material knowledge, 9. Raga-passion and 10. Kala-power. The Atma Tattvas are 11. Maya 12. Purusha 13. Buddhi-wisdom 14.Ahankara-ego 15. Manas and 16. Prakrithi. Tattvas 17-21 are Five Gnanendriyas, 22-26 are Five Karmendriyas, 27-31 are Five Tanmatras, 32-36 are Five Mahabhutas. Beyond the 36 Tattvas is Atattva or Para Siva or formless absolute Brahman who is symbolized by the Shiva Lingam.
Saiva Agamas came to us through Sadasiva’s five faces. This was revealed by Lord Siva to Parvathi and the guru-parampara starts for the transmission of wisdom. Agamas are called Sadhana Shastras, anyone can be in yoga of bliss by following Agamic prescriptions. These Agamas were and are open to all as opposed to the ancient prohibition of caste based Vedas and Upanishads of the Brahmanic schools. The Agamas were written in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The Nayanmaars further facilitated the Tamil speaking population further elaborations and stories. There are 28 Shaivite Agamas and 108 Upagamas or minor agamas. The Shakta school of Mother Goddess worship has 77 Shaktagamas. The Tantras have three parts being Sadhana, Siddhi and Darshana. Mohenjo-daro excavations give credit that the Shaivite Pati-Pasu-Pasa trilateral relationship existed from Vedic times, if not earlier.
The Bhakti or devotional worship may be suitable for nearly all types of personalities for God realization. This is the beautiful and practical devotional approach of faith, surrender and trust. Sadasiva is Brahman himself, who descends into lower planes to manifest himself in different forms and aspects. He does for his own Ananda and for us to discover this Truth and thereafter discover our own infinity. Bhakti path is the path of love which does not exclude anyone irrespective of his status in life. It suits the theory that belief, faith, prayers, rituals and personal Gods are individual business. In Shaivism we are to know ourselves as Him. This path of realization emanates from one’s own heart and one can fall in love with God. Sadasiva is the Absolute, Supreme Lord, beyond which there is nothing else. Sivoham Sivoham.
Om Nama Sivaya
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